Tiny Homes Project

Overview

Can tiny homes be a solution for ending homelessness? A growing number of faith-based organizations and local governments believe these micro houses can more quickly get people off the street and restore their dignity. As a result, tiny house villages are being developed nationwide to address homelessness.

Celebrate Outreach tiny homes - CopyIn spring of 2016 Celebrate Outreach began developing tiny homes to provide permanent housing for veterans and others experiencing homelessness in the greater St. Petersburg area. By developing low-cost, energy-efficient, housing units under 500 s.f., we will be able to provide very affordable housing alternatives for people working to achieve independence and self-sufficiency. Tiny homes will become a big solution for homelessness.

The University of South Florida School of Architecture & Community Design joined Celebrate Outreach as a collaborative partner for this project. Internationally-renowned research professor Josue Robles Caraballo recruited 16 architecture students to participate in a class he is teaching on this subject this semester. The students will be challenged to develop innovative and creative designs for these homes. Final designs were presented in May, and prototypes are being built.

Tiny homes will be placed on single-family house lots scattered throughout Pinellas County.

A CO! Former Board President says, “It takes a community to build a village.” Community volunteers are needed to help build the tiny homes alongside the veterans who will reside in them. Orientation and training will be provided periodically throughout this year, leading up to the community building events, which will begin during the fall of 2018.

“I love the excitement around the concept of tiny houses and the desire to house the homeless,” stated St. Petersburg’s Mayor Rick Kriseman. Going further, he said, “The city enjoys working with non-profits on meaningful projects like this.”

Mayor Kriseman is not alone in his excitement. Dozens of concerned citizens have enthusiastically volunteered their time and talent towards this project. More than 50 people packed into (swahrey), a cool and thoughtfully-designed dessert bar/restaurant on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District, for the first Tiny Homes Project Volunteers Meet ‘n Greet on Saturday, January 30th. Highlights included delicious desserts and coffee, networking among a diverse crowd of volunteers, presentations by representatives of various organizations supporting this project,

The veterans are excited, too! “This will give us the chance to restore our dignity and privacy, and have a place to call home,” one interested veteran exclaimed. Not only will they get permanent housing — an affordable home they may rent or purchase for a couple of hundred dollars per month — but they will also receive supportive services such as therapeutic services for PTSD and MST and participate in restorative activities such as community gardening and entrepreneurial opportunities.

READ MORE ABOUT VETERANS BATTLING PTSD AND MST

Before moving into their tiny homes, veterans selected to participate in this project must complete a six-month residential training program in which they will matriculate through classes to prepare them to transition from homelessness to home. Class topics include homeownership, personal financial management, entrepreneurship, healthy nutrition and more. Referrals of veterans to participate in this program are continuously welcomed and received.

Mayor Rick Kriseman“I love the excitement around the concept of tiny houses and the desire to house the homeless. The city enjoys working with non-profits on meaningful projects like this.”
–Mayor Rick Kriseman

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AARP Florida Encourages Help for Tiny Homes to Make a Big Difference
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